New airline routes launched (21 August 2018 – 27 August 2018)

Hainan Airlines Shenzhen to Zurich

Hainan Airlines, Zurich

Zurich welcomed the arrival of its’ third Chinese connection when Hainan Airlines commenced twice-weekly services from Shenzhen on 27 August. Among the dignitaries performing the ceremonial ribbon cutting was Stefan Tschudin, COO, Zurich Airport (fifth from left). There is no direct competition on this airport pair.

  • Hainan Airlines launched a new service from Shenzhen (SZX) to Zurich (ZRH) on 27 August. Flights will operate twice-weekly, departing China on Mondays and Fridays. The 9,241-kilometre sector will be flown by the airline’s 787-8 fleet and there is no direct competition on the city pair. This marks the Chinese carrier’s first flights to Zurich since it discontinued a link from Beijing, with OAG Schedules Analyser data showing that the carrier’s final scheduled service from Switzerland to the Chinese capital operated in September 2013. Zurich becomes the carrier’s only destination in Switzerland. The Shenzhen connection is the Swiss airport’s third link to China, with Air China serving Beijing, and SWISS operating to both Beijing and Shanghai Pudong respectively. It means also that Hainan Airlines has broken the Star Alliance monopoly of connecting Zurich with China.

Primera Air London Stansted to Washington Dulles

Primera Air Washington

Felipe Gomez-Smith, Regional Manager, Primera Air, was on hand on 22 August with the first flight crew to launch the LCC’s latest long-haul service from London Stansted to Washington Dulles. The new capital connection joins the airline’s other long-haul routes from Stansted to Boston, New York Newark and Toronto Pearson.

The celebrations continued in the US, with a mass ribbon cutting. “Today, we celebrate the expansion of the important partnership between Virginia and the UK, as well as the increased connectivity that this new transatlantic service represents,” said Governor Ralph Northam. Following the airline’s inaugural flight to Washington Dulles on 22 August, Primera Air announced plans at the event to launch a second route to the US airport from Brussels beginning on 2 June.

  • Primera Air launched its latest long-haul route from London Stansted (STN) on 22 August, adding a five times weekly service to Washington Dulles (IAD). The route to the US capital is operated by the LCC’s A321neo fleet, and faces no direct competition, although indirect competition comes from United Airlines (three times daily), British Airways (15 times weekly) and Virgin Atlantic Airways (daily), with all three flying between London Heathrow and Dulles. Mark Souter, London Stansted’s Aviation Manager, said: “The launch of Primera Air’s new service to Washington Dulles is a great addition to the airline’s long-haul offer from London Stansted and a clear reflection of the demand that exists across London and the East of England for convenient and affordable connections to the US and beyond. We have made clear our ambition is to provide passengers with more choice and opportunities to travel long-haul from Stansted, including more services to the US and the addition of new routes to China and India, so the launch of this new service is another step towards delivering that goal.” Along with Washington, Primera Air serves Boston, New York Newark and Toronto Pearson from its Stansted base. This is not the first time that the London airport has had direct flights to Dulles, with MAXjet, an old American all-business class airline which ceased flying in 2007, having operated a brief service on the route before it stopped trading. See how Washington Dulles Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

The rest of this week’s new routes (A – Z by airline)

Aerolineas Argentinas

Flight Information Display Screens (FIDS) informed passengers on flight AR1326 from Cordoba to Punta Cana on 25 August that they were on the inaugural service between the two airports. Aerolineas Argentinas will offer a weekly (Saturdays) service from the South American city to the Caribbean airport using its 737 MAX 8 fleet.

  • Aerolineas Argentinas launched its second route to Punta Cana (PUJ) in the Dominican Republic on 25 August, beginning a weekly service from Cordoba (COR). Flights will depart the Argentinian city at 23:15 on Saturdays, landing into the Caribbean airport at 06:00 the following morning. Return services then depart Punta Cana at 08:45, touching back down in Cordoba at 17:35 Sunday evening. The carrier will operate the 5,559-kilometre route using its fleet of 737 MAX 8s. Aerolineas Argentinas’ already serves Punta Cana, operating a six times weekly 737 MAX 8 operation from Buenos Aires Ezeiza, a route which dropped from a daily rotation in order to accommodate the new route from Cordoba. When referencing OAG Traffic Analyser data, over 37,100 passengers travelled indirectly between Cordoba and Punta Cana in 2017, with LATAM Airlines and Copa Airlines being the leaders for connecting traffic, occupying 48% and 46% of the indirect market respectively.

Air Italy

On 26 August, Air Italy’s new domestic service from Milan Malpensa was welcomed at Lamezia Terme with this water arch. The sector allows for seamless connections to the airline’s long-haul network, which includes destinations such as  New York JFK, Miami, Havana, Bangkok, Delhi, Mumbai, Moscow, Cairo, Dakar, Accra and Lagos.

  • Air Italy inaugurated flights to Lamezia Terme (SUF) from Milan Malpensa (MXP) on 26 August. The new Lamezia Terme service will operate 10 times week initially, rising to double-daily from October, using a mixture of the airline’s 737-800 and 737 MAX 8s. Air Italy’s COO Neil Mills, said: “With the opening of this sixth domestic route to Lamezia Terme, Air Italy is delighted to have delivered on the first phase of our domestic business plan for 2018.” The Chairman of SACAL Lamezia Terme Airport, Arturo De Felice, said: “I would like to express my great satisfaction and that of the Lamezia Terme Airport Management in welcoming the new Air Italy flights from Milan Malpensa.” The airline’s next service to be inaugurated will be the four times weekly route from Malpensa to Bangkok, which will commence on 9 September. This route will be followed closely by the start of flights to Delhi and Mumbai on 28 and 30 October respectively. easyJet (18 times weekly), Ryanair (double-daily) and Neos (weekly) provides direct competition on the airport pair from Malpensa to Lamezia Terme. See how Lamezia Terme Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Air Seoul Fukuoka

Air Seoul launched flights to Fukuoka on 27 August. Seen showing off her golfing skills to the media, inaugural flight crew and VIPs, is Shin-Ae Ahn, Professional Golfer and Ambassador for Air Seoul. The South Korean LCC will offer six weekly flights between Seoul Incheon and Fukuoka using its fleet of A321s.

  • Air Seoul has made Fukuoka (FUK) it latest destination in Japan, beginning a six times weekly service to the city from its home base at Seoul Incheon (ICN) on 27 August. The airline will increase its frequency on the 562-kilometre sector to a daily rotation from 25 September based on OAG schedules. Air Seoul is planning to operate its latest city pair using its fleet of A321s, with it expected to go head-to-head with six other carriers on the sector, namely Jin Air (four times daily), Jeju Air (26 times weekly), Asiana Airlines and Korean Air (both three times daily), t’way air (15 times weekly) and Eastar Jet (twice-daily). Along with Fukuoka, the airline already flies to Hiroshima, Kumamoto, Miho-Yonago, Nagasaki, Osaka Kansai, Shizuoka, Takamatsu, Tokyo Narita and Yamaguchi Ube in Japan from its home base. The airline did fly to Sapporo Chitose with a seasonal service until 17 August, however the airline has not indicated whether it will reinstate this route from S19. However, while Sapporo Chitose is not appearing in the carrier’s online booking engine, the platform does show that the carrier is planning to begin flights to Okinawa from 21 September.

Air Tanzania Uganda

Air Tanzania commenced operations to Uganda after a 10-year hiatus on 26 August, launching a Dar es Salaam – Kilimanjaro – Entebbe route, with the first flight being greeted by several VIPs and delegates from the airline and the Ugandan CAA. The African carrier will offer four weekly flights on the tri-city service using its fleet of Q400s.

  • Air Tanzania commenced flights to Uganda on 26 August, a country market it has not served for the past 10 years. The carrier has begun a four times weekly operation on a tri-city route connecting Dar es Salaam (DAR), Kilimanjaro (JRO) and Entebbe (EBB), a service which the airline will fly using its fleet of Q400s, with it presently operating three. While the airport pairing of Dar es Salaam and Entebbe, which serves the Ugandan capital of Kampala, faces no direct competition, it should be noted that flights from Kilimanjaro and Entebbe will go head-to-head with Tanzanian operator Precision Air, with the latter offering four weekly flights on the 641-kilometre hop using its fleet of ATR 72-500s. When referencing OAG Traffic Analyser data, some 43,200 passengers travelled indirectly between Dar es Salaam and Entebbe in 2017, with Kenya Airways being the strongest carrier in the connecting market, capturing 69% of indirect passengers. Take a closer look at’s recent analysis of Entebbe Airport in Uganda, a facility which saw passenger traffic grow 8.1% last year. See how Entebbe Airport’s FTWA compares to others from around the world.

Frontier Airlines Santa Barbara

Frontier Airlines’ inaugural service from Denver to Santa Barbara is seen taxiing to stand at the Californian airport on 21 August, with the flight having been operated by the airline’s N201FR-registered A320. data shows that the first service touched down in a cloudy Santa Barbara five minutes ahead of schedule at 15:22.

  • Frontier Airlines made a return to Santa Barbara (SBA) in California on 21 August with a three times weekly service from Denver (DEN), a route which the ULCC last operated on 6 January 2015. The carrier will serve the 1,469-kilometre sector using its fleet of A320s, with direct competition coming from Star Alliance member United Airlines, with the latter already providing 27 weekly flights on the connection. This is the second airline inauguration at Santa Barbara in recent weeks, with it having welcomed Sun Country Airlines and its first flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul on 16 August. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Santa Barbara Airport handled over 706,000 passengers in 2017, while for the first five months of this year the Californian facility processed 288,718 people, up 7.7% versus the same five months of 2017.


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